Derick from Columbia, MO
One of the questions you answered was about a few of the best offensive linemen of all time. Whenever I read something about the greatest offensive linemen, it always throws me off that I rarely see Bruce Matthews’ name mentioned. Clay Matthews’ uncle played all over the line and started well over 200 straight games, making the Pro Bowl all of the last 15 years of his 19-year career. Doesn’t that sort of sustained greatness hold weight?
He’s one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of the game, but he would probably fall into the underrated category for one reason: He played most of his career as an interior lineman in the era of the left tackle. Nowadays, when we tick off the names of the best offensive linemen, we start with left tackles.
Ricky from St. Louis, MO
Vic, do you think color television had an impact on football’s popularity? My dad grew up in southern Illinois and he said he fell in love with the Packers when he got his first color TV and saw the green and gold.
It’s no coincidence the rise in popularity of the NFL coincided with the emergence of color television. Football is a colorful game. Its colors first attracted me to the sport. I’ve talked about that in this column, and it’s one of the reasons I support the color rush uniforms concept. I’m not a big fan of the throwbacks because, by and large, they’re dull. I think one of the reasons baseball’s popularity declined as the number of color TVs in households increased is due to the fact baseball was a somewhat colorless sport back then. The visiting team wore grey and the home team wore white. The only splash of color was on the hat and the socks, and most of those colors were dark. Everybody laughed at Charles O. Finley when he put his A’s in grasshopper uniforms, but he saw it coming; he was always ahead of the curve.
David from Apple Valley, MN
Last season, Coach McCarthy’s message coming out of training camp was “fast start,” and they did that, starting the season 6-0. What do you think the coach’s message will be this season?
It’s “win the one-on-ones,” and I think it’s a stronger message because it goes to the heart of success in this game. I wasn’t crazy about the fast start thing because it didn’t include a fast finish, which I think is more important than starting fast. I love “win the one-on-ones” because it doesn’t include a timeline. It’s good on opening day and even better on the final day.
Bryant from Arlington, TX
As a lifelong Packers fan, in the last three seasons I have seen plenty of talent capable of winning a championship, but there seems to be complacency among the franchise. What are the Packers doing to become more aggressive and to put a boot to a few teams’ throats when it’s clutch time?
Let’s make this a multiple choice answer: 1) Fire everyone and change everything. 2) Hold a team meeting and discuss putting a boot to a few teams’ throats. 3) Only call plays that work. 4) Talk tough. 5) Add new players to the roster and combine their talents with the talents of those players who remain from last season.
[Related: Less is more for Josh Sitton this offseason]
Tom from Batavia, IL
In your career as a sportswriter, what has been your highest high and lowest low? I really enjoy your column, Vic. Keep plugging along.
If you’re referring to wins and losses, the worst I’ve ever felt is immediately following the loss in Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game. The highs are too many to mention them all. Coach McCarthy’s press conference following the “Fail Mary” game is one of them. When a man conducts himself with that kind of dignity following something as emotionally upsetting as that loss was, you know you’ve witnessed something bigger than a football game.
Orv from Clarksville, VA
“Run to daylight” is such an iconic phrase, capturing a football runner’s goal. What are the five most iconic phrases that capture a football player’s goal?
I only need two: Beat your man and just win, baby.
Allen from Zephyrhills, FL
I’m originally from Ohio and I would eat hot dogs with ketchup and mustard. It must transition from East to West.
Christian from Milwaukee, WI
My seven-year-old daughter, Ellia, would like to know who is your all-time favorite Packer and why?
It’s Bart Starr, because he had the courage to call his own number for the most important play in Packers history, and because he’s Mr. Packer, and because he built my mail box.
Todd from Menominee, MI
I saw Ezekiel Elliott bought his family a house with his first rookie paycheck. I thought players do not get paid until the first week of the season. Did he get a loan?
He got a signing bonus. It’s paid immediately upon signing a contract.
Mike from Jacksonville, NC
Do excellent punt returners usually make good slot receivers?
I like that analogy. Yes, they do. Randall Cobb, Wes Welker and Az Hakim are slot receivers/punt returners. There’s a trait common to each function: the ability to play along the ground. These are players who possess a talent for moving their feet in traffic; they possess that kind of quickness.
Mahmoud from Laredo, TX
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi. When did coaches stop talking like that, Vic?
When we began asking questions about matchups and play-calling. I loved Chuck Noll’s response to play-calling questions: “What you’re really asking me is why we didn’t win.”
Terry from Tillamook, OR
What do you think of the robotic tackling dummies the Steelers are using?
I heard they named one of them Vontaze.
Alex from Tacoma, WA
Vic, don’t you think Keenan Reynolds would be a phenomenal spokesman for the Navy? What if he becomes a superstar? Having an NFL superstar that can talk about his time at the academy and how it helped him reach his goals could be an invaluable recruiting tool for the military.
I suspect that’s the intent.
Seamus from LaGrange, IL
You are wrong about hockey. Playoff hockey is most exciting. Shooting a puck while skating is the second-hardest single skill in all of sports! What do you think is the hardest skill in football?
Standing in the passing pocket with your eyes fixed downfield as the violent sounds of your enemy rush toward you. It’s the most underrated skill in all of sports.
Bruce from Saginaw, MI
Vic, which, if any, of the preseason football magazines do you read and why?
I don’t read any of them. Why is that? Once upon a time, I couldn’t wait for them to hit the newsstands. What’s changed?
Garrett from New Berlin, WI
Vic, how has your resolution of being new been going? It’s always great to see your happiness and positive spirit in life in your writing.
I joined a service club and I’ve volunteered to work at bingos. It’s something new. I have, however, suspended my new love for kayaking, since finding out sharks swim in the tidal creek I’ve been using.
Evan from Fort Myers, FL
True or false, Jeff Janis will be Green Bay’s MVP this year? False, Jeff Janis will be league MVP this year. It’s time to let the big dog eat, Vic.
Some things never change. HAVE A QUESTION FOR VIC?